How to take advantage of SOLIDWORKS Cloud Solutions in 2021

Article by Scott Lidgey updated January 25, 2021

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2020 was a crazy and unprecedented year. Our home lives and work lives have gone through and will continue to go through some significant changes. In the design and manufacturing industry, we have had to change how we communicate and collaborate, we’ve needed to retool.  Javelin has been working hard alongside our clients to provide SOLIDWORKS cloud solutions and services to solve their challenges.

For 2021 you too can take advantage of the latest cloud solutions and services from Javelin. In this article I will discuss the following:

  1. Working Remotely is the new normal
  2. The need for a SOLIDWORKS Data Management Solution
  3. Move SOLIDWORKS Desktop or PDM to the Cloud
  4. Using the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Platform
  5. Cloud Workspaces
  6. New SOLIDWORKS Apps on the Cloud

1. Working Remotely is the New Normal

One of the biggest challenges is how you access your most valuable asset. Your DATA. How do you give access, in a controlled and secure way to this new remote workforce?

The first problem is simply the infrastructure needed to provide you secure access while maintaining fast performance, especially for the large CAD data many of you work with every day. Many companies have data all over the place, local drive, different network shares.

The second problem is how do you control who is editing what files and working collaboratively. Not as simple as yelling over the cubical wall to close out of a data set. For those companies that have not invested in a Data Management system to this point are really beginning to understand the value of centralized and secure data.

2. The need for a SOLIDWORKS Data Management Solution

If you aren’t working with a data management solution like SOLIDWORKS PDM or SOLIDWORKS Manage, this is definitely the time to start. Not only do these solutions centralize and secure your data, but they allow you to pull more value from your data and increase the productivity of your team. Connecting data through a digital thread makes finding information much easier. Automating administrative tasks like creating consumable files like PDFs and leveraging workflows to notify people and understand your projects’ status is just scratching the surface.

Project Management with SOLIDWORKS Manage

Project Management with SOLIDWORKS Manage

Once your data in a controlled, and centralized location; next, is how do you connect to it from outside the office? Although a traditional VPN or (virtual private network) connection can work, many will already know this type of connection is very slow. Many organizations also have strict security protocols and restrictions that won’t allow for this type of connection.

3. Move SOLIDWORKS Desktop or PDM to the Cloud

Javelin technologies has put a lot of time and effort into researching Cloud solutions. We have knowledgeable and certified staff to help you understand the options and services provided by AWS and Microsoft Azure. We will help you to sign up with these providers, then we can deliver the services to implement or move your SOLIDWORKS PDM or Manage Vaults to the Cloud.

By no means is this new technology; it’s just taken some time for this industry to both understand and trust it.  Although not natively written for Cloud, Javelin has done extensive testing and has successfully moved our customer’s SOLIDWORKS PDM and Manage Vaults to the Cloud. We are currently working with both Azure and AWS Cloud services and are looking to add more to this list. Clients that made this move already are finding that the ease to connect, and the performance have been great. Many also find that previous server replication is no longer needed. The potential for reducing costs for internal infrastructure and upkeep is a huge bonus as well.

4. Using the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Platform

There is another option for centralized data… The 3DEXPERIENCE Works Platform. This is Dassault Systemes’ answer to connecting data and departments in your organization. This system is built from the ground up for Cloud computing and runs in the Dassault Systems’ infrastructure. The 3DEXPERIENCE Works platform is a true cloud-based solution that includes PLM level data management, collaboration tools, and so much more. The product model is different from what you are used to with SOLIDWORKS and its solution products.

The 3DEXPERIENCE Works Platform, in a nutshell, is pulling together many of the different Dassault solution families; including ENOVIA (PLM), SIMUIA (Simulation), DELMIA (ERP), and SOLIDWORKS.

These solution families are purchased as roles, and those roles come with specific applications or “apps”.  Those apps are pulling tools or technologies from these different families to suit specific job requirements. Today, however, for those customers who are well invested in SOLIDWORKS PDM and MANAGE this is not likely the best solution for your business. But, there are still opportunities to benefit from using the platform that I will cover in more detail in a later post.

 3DEXPERIENCE Works

3DEXPERIENCE Works

5. Cloud Workspaces

Now we have centralized and accessible data. Next, we need to get the design tools in the hands of our workforce. Some companies can ship or provide the hardware with the system requirements required for products like SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation to their employees. Sometimes this is not an option or practical. Here’s where Cloud can be your solution as well. AWS Workspaces and Azure VDIs are cloud-based Workstations. Having any of the SOLIDWORKS tools running in a cloud infrastructure can be a great solution.

  • Incredible graphics.
  • RAM and CPU horsepower.
  • Cloud backup of data.

As I’m sure you have guessed, this technology is not free. Keep in mind the possible savings of not needing the constant upgrading and upkeeping of your current workstations and the benefits of always working on state-of-the-art technology. Javelin Technologies can help guide you through all the options and technology to find the best solution to meet your goals and budget.

6. New SOLIDWORKS Apps on the Cloud

Back to the 3DEXPERIENCE Works platform. There are many other apps that can complement and extend the capabilities of your SOLIDWORKS.

Advanced Design Apps

  • To start, there is SOLIDWORKS 3D Creator (xDesign) for feature-based design and
  • SOLIDWORKS 3D SheetMetal Creator (xSheetmetal) for sheet metal design. Which is similar to SOLIDWORKS desktop but not a replacement for SOLIDWORKS.
  • Think about other departments like a tooling department that could use a lighter solution to whip up a quick design to 3D print or machine.
  • SOLIDWORKS 3D Sculptor (xShape) gives you Sub-D modeling capabilities. This is the push & pull or clay-like functionality customers have been wanting.
  • CATIA xGenerative Design is another app that, through algorithmic functions you can generate amazing and complex geometry never thought possible in SOLIDWORKS alone.
SOLIDWORKS xDesign

SOLIDWORKS xDesign

Validation Apps

When it comes to design validation and testing the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform has the Structural Engineer roles from the SIMULIA family. These bring linear and non-linear analysis types based on the world proven Abaqus solver technology. Best of all, you have the choice to use local workstation or cloud computing power to run your simulation.

SIMULIA Structural Engineer

SIMULIA Structural Engineer

Data & Manufacturing Management Apps

This is just the beginning. The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform can extend into every corner of your organization by bringing

  • Task Management and Project Planning tools
  • manufacturing can use NC Shop Floor roles for CNC programming
  • Lean Team Member role to facilitate lean principals to capture, monitor, and track operational meetings.

This technology could be complementing those companies currently using SOLIDWORKS PDM or SOLIDWORKS MANAGE. You would maintain your data management in these systems but take advantage of some of the design and validation roles in your design process.

Collaboration Apps

This idea also leads nicely into one of the most powerful areas of the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform… its collaboration tools. I think everyone can agree email is our go to communication tool…however like the fax machine it is quickly becoming out of date and inefficient.

How much time is wasted sending emails, searching for emails, forgetting to reply all or having data stuck in someone else’s email box that pertains to a project or team?

You likely also deal with other disconnected systems for instant messaging, meeting/video conferencing. The 3D EXPERIENCE Platform pulls all of this into one place and makes everything much more efficient. When you first log into the platform, you will be looking at your dashboard that is configured to you and/or your team. The most common app to start with is the SwYm community app. This links you to all the communities you are a member.

3DSwym Collaboration

3DSwym Collaboration

These could be project-specific, companywide, or public. Here you can read, comment, and collaborate through Posts, Questions, Ideas, Surveys and Tasks. These can also be connected to data. Any activity in the Platform you are part of will notify you immediately to keep up to date. There is also an area for instant messaging and video calling for one on one or team meetings.

Because 3DEXPERIENCE Apps run on the Cloud through any internet browser you could be designing from the comfort of your couch with an iPad. There is no need for a powerful workstation to run the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

Next Steps

I’ve discussed a lot of SOLIDWORKS Cloud technology here, with a lot of different options, along with the benefits of centralizing data cloud vs on-premise applications, and how Javelin is helping to keep customers on the leading edge of technology. I hope you have a better understanding of some of the SOLIDWORKS Cloud choices you have available to you.

Be sure to leverage the existing partnership you have with Javelin or contact us to start a discussion to find the best cloud solution to meet your needs and budget.

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Scott Lidgey

Scott has been using SolidWorks since version 98. Since that time he has help countless companies find solutions and best practices for all their design challenges.